Jesse Tree: Day 4 Noah (Gen.6:1-14 & 8:6-17)
One of the strangest things about Christians is the way we handle the story of Noah’s Ark. There is such dissonance between the horror and trauma of the story we read in the Bible, and its extraordinary revision in modern usage where it is often presented as a bedtime story, or perhaps even as an educational tool helping children to count in twos and name animals. Few stories in the Bible provide a less likely narrative for a children’s story than the story of Noah.
Gen.6-9 presents us with a terrifying reality. After explaining that human depravity has taken such a hold that ‘every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time’ (Gen.6:5, a situation that hasn’t changed) we are told that God ‘regretted creating human beings on the earth, and His heart was deeply troubled’ (6:6).
It’s easy to underestimate the impact of sin - both on us and God. But our Lord’s reaction should give us a sense of its extremity. And that reaction is an almost total genocide sweeping away all but a handful of humanity. A single family is redeemed from the judgement that engulfs the earth. Only Noah, we are told, was a righteous man … [who] walked faithfully with God (Gen.6:9 & 7:23). That can only be said of someone who trusts in the work of the Christ, whether that work is still in the future (as it was for Noah), or in the past (as it is for us). Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Heb.11:6).
‘The flood’ is often thought of as a heavy downpour that lasted an unseasonably long time. What is actually happening is that is God re-winding the process of creation back to the second day (Gen.1:6 / 7:10-11); and then re-creating the world from that point again. He is quite literally going back (almost) to the beginning. In the midst of this cosmic destruction, the LORD provides one and only one covenantal place of safety. And it is the Lord Himself who shuts the door. His longsuffering patience is finally at an end. This is why Methuselah (meaning: when he dies it - i.e. the flood - will come) is the man who has lived the longest! But in the end, the same door that shuts Noah in, shuts everything else out (7:16-23). So shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man (Luke 17:26-27).
And herein lies the key to the story… a near total destruction from which one man leads a redeemed people into a new creation. It is the same story that will be told at the end of the history of this age. This creation will once again face a near-total destruction (II Peter 3:6), through which one Man, the Son of Man, will lead a redeemed people into a New Creation, shutting the door finally against all that is evil. This is the hope that is deeply embedded in the heart of the Church, and of this cursed creation (Rom.8:19-21).
Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood… (Gen.8:21)
Ideas for Family Devotions:
Watch the excellent ‘Jesus Storybook Bible’ telling of the story of Noah on Youtube. It’s called ‘A New Beginning’ and can be found here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCLRcA9mlQE
Memorise Hebrews 11:7. It might take a few days! Talk as a family about what you think it means…
Make a boat - origami, from a milk carton, wood… it all depends on how much time and energy you want to invest …or a rain-stick: http://www.kixcereal.com/kix-cereal-recycled-craft-make-a-rainstick/